Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man In Shadows

Death Threats

During the previous summer, Jamie and April had been staying with a friend named Kenny Leighton, in a little loft above a muffler shop he owned. Leighton, 37, had a wife and a couple of kids. He and Jamie knew each other from high school. They were also part of the drug subculture of the Valley area of Los Angeles.

Kenneth Leighton
Kenneth Leighton

In August, burglary detectives from the West Valley Division arrested Leighton for breaking into a couple of auto parts warehouses. When the cops found some of the stolen car parts at Leighton's muffler shop, they questioned Jamie and April about Leighton filling his shop with stolen merchandise. After giving written statements to the police, Jamie and April agreed to testify against Leighton.

 Szabo and Galeria learned that after Leighton bailed out of jail he threatened to kill the couple for cooperating with the police. The threats scared Jamie and April so badly that they sought police protection. Jamie even gave the West Valley burglary detectives a videotaped statement in which he recounted Leighton's threats against him and April.

Two days after Leighton's burglary arrest, detectives arrested the muffler shop owner again, this time for witness intimidation.

For a while after Leighton's second arrest, the LAPD put Jamie and April up in a hotel in another part of the city. It was part of the department's witness protection program. Eventually though, Jamie and April, who were from the West Hills area, got homesick. They left the program and moved back to the Valley.

Leighton told several people that Jamie and April were trying to send him to prison and that he was going to kill them.

Szabo and Galeria thought that Kenny Leighton was definitely worth checking out.

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